The role of the Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer, a United States Navy ship named for the famed World War II admiral of the same name, is to defend other ships, whether they be convoys or carrier battle groups (CVBG). The Arleigh Burke class is capable of defending against airborne threats (aircraft and missiles), other surface ships, and submarines in support of whatever group they are attached to. Though its primary mission is one of defense, the Arleigh Burke class was also designed to support land-based and amphibious operations with their 5"/54 caliber guns, and with their arsenal of Tomahawk cruise missiles, and perform strike missions on many different types of targets.

The Arleigh Burke was designed from the beginning to be a more stealthy ship (RADAR-wise) than her predecessors. Many techniques were used to reduce the radar signature of the Arleigh Burke class. Some of those techniques were the tried and true use of RADAR absorbing materials and paint to cover parts of the ship, as well some new ideas. For instance, where the square deck railings and posts of the older Spruance class destroyer were all square with the front of the ship, those same railings on the Arleigh Burke are rotated forty-five degrees. Also, the mast and 'island' of the ship are constructed with non-perpendicular angles, giving the Arleigh Burke a completely different 'look' than that of ships past. The purpose of these design techniques is to reduce the number of surfaces perpendicular to an active radar system, reducing amount of signal that the Arleigh Burke will return (the same idea behind the UFO-ish F-117 Stealth Fighter (which isn't actually a fighter)).

The Arleigh Burke also continues the use of the four General Electric LW2500 Gas Turbine engine that was so successful on the Spruance class destroyer. The LW2500 is a nautical version of the jet engine used DC-10, MD-11, A300, 747 and 767 aircraft. The gas turbine engine allows ships equipped with it a much higher range of flexibility in operations; it only takes a few minutes to go from having the four engines off, to be ready to get underway, a significant improvement over older engine systems, which took a much longer period of time to 'warm up'. There are two pairs of engines aboard the Arleigh Burke, each pair drives a separate shaft. Only two engines need to be activated at any one time, allowing engine crews to service two of the engines, even while underway. Since the gas turbine is incapable of spinning their shafts 'in reverse', in order for the ship to go in reverse, the propellers themselves change their configuration, switching the pitch of their blades. The port shaft rotates counter-clockwise, while the starboard shaft rotates clockwise. The Arleigh Burke class has an engine and propulsion setup very much like that of the Spruance class destroyer.

The Arleigh Burke also saw a return to the all-steel superstructure that had been given up in favor of aluminum. This policy of all-aluminum superstructure was completely abandoned when in 1975, the USS Belknap (CG 26) collided with USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67), causing massive structural damage to the aluminum superstructure of Belknap, and many casualties. The mast of the ship, however, remains aluminum for reasons of mass. The actual hull of the Arleigh Burke is what is called a waterplane area hull form, which is supposed to allow the ship to maintain high speeds and maneuverability even during high seas.

The Arleigh Burke employs a survivability-enhanced design philosophy. A number of features that are able to seal off the crew from the outside world makes the Arleigh Burke much more capable of withstanding chemical, biological, or radiological (CBR) attack. The overall design of the ship favors the more vital areas of the ship with increased protection in the form of steel armor, kevlar armor (for the AEGIS systems), and double-plated bulkheads. The double-plated aspect serves to prevent fragmentation damage, in that the outer layer breaks-up the fragments, while the inner layer serves to protect against the fragmented fragments of the fragments. (heh heh... anyways...) Also, vital electronics have been fortified against the electronics-crippling electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) associated with nuclear airbursts.

Weapon Systems
The primary weapon of the Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer is the ninety cell Mk 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS). The VLS carries the lion's share of the Arleigh Burke's offensive capability, including Tomahawk and Standard missiles for attacking land targets, and ASROC Anti-submarine rockets. The VLS is split between the bow area and the stern area of the ship, with a 29-cell unit at the bow, and a 61-cell unit towards the stern. The VLS cannot really be seen on a profile (side) view of the ship, since it rises only a few inches above the deck. Missile launch chambers are beneath the deck, in a vertical position (hence the name), and are arrayed in a large grid. The foreward grid is really thirty-two squares large and the aft sixty-four, but three cells both foreward and aft are taken up by cranes, which facilitates reloading of the Vertical Launch System.

AGM-84 Harpoon anti ship missiles are carried in two 'quad' canisters towards the aft of the ship. The two quad launchers form a kind of 'x' when viewing the ship from the stern. They are angled in this way so that the powerful exhaust from a missile launch will be directed into the water and away from the ship. The Harpoon guided missile gives the Arleigh Burke her primary means of dealing with hostile ships. The Arleigh Burke's complement of Harpoons is not limited to the eight on the launch rack; more can be loaded from storage should the first eight be expended.

The Arleigh Burke also carries a pair of 5 inch, 54 caliber turreted cannons. These weapons may seem to be something of a throwback to the bad old days when the battleship ruled the sea, and the bigger the gun, the better. Some may even look on the cannon as somewhat obsolete. However, the 5"/54 cal gun on the Arleigh Burke (and several other classes of ship in the U.S. Navy) serves a number of important roles. The 5" gun is an important component in the Arleigh Burke's anti-missile/anti-aircraft capability, engaging hostile air targets as one of the last lines of defense against incoming guided missiles.

Note: 54 caliber means 54 caliber. NOT .54 caliber. This is a big fscking gun we're talking about here. The Arleigh Burke has emplacements for manually operated .50 caliber machine guns, primarily for point defense against extremely close hostiles, such as bad guys trying to attach charges to the hull, or storm the ship while docked.
Extra bonus note: The Navy is supposedly outfitting the 62 cal version of this gun sometime in 2002 with guided rounds! They're rocket-propelled, GPS-guided shells capable of altering course to hit their target. Crazy. More info for this insanely advanced projectile technology and the cannon system itself at...

The absolute last line of defense against anti-ship missiles and aircraft is the MK 15 Phalanx Close-In Weapons System (CIWS), or 'sea-whiz' for short. The CIWS is a point defense weapon that has self-contained search and tracking radars, and engages incoming aircraft and missiles at only a few nautical miles in range. It is easily recognizeable by its tall white radar dome, placed upon the cannon barrels and swivel joint. The six-barrel 20mm cannon throws either tungsten or depleted uranium shells at a rate of 3000-4500 per minute at its target. The Arleigh Burke is armed with two of these systems, one for the forward-starboard side, and another for the aft-port side.

The Arleigh Burke is also armed with a pair of torpedo launcher mounts, each carrying three torpedoes for going after submarines (and potentially other surface ships).

Also, user locke baron has informed me that DDG-51s can carry the MK 38 25mm autocannon, which is a kind of manually aimed chain gun. They are apparently not part of the ship's permanent armament, and can be removed and installed in different situations. They have been apparently especially useful when conducting operations in the Persian Gulf, supporting UN sanctions against Iraq following the Gulf War.

Upgrade to Flight IIA (DDG-79 and up)
  • A hangar has been added for two SH-60 Seahawk LAMPS III Anti submarine warfare helicopters aft of the aft VLS and forward of the helicopter landing deck. Space for the increased officers, crew, and supplies has also been added. The aft SPY radar antenna had to be raised eight feet to be able to see over the hangar.
  • Upgrade to version 6.1 of the AEGIS weapon system
  • Increase from 90 VLS cells to 96
  • Future upgrade from Phalanx CIWS to NATO Evolved Sea Sparrow
  • Removal of Harpoon capability
  • Upgrade 5"/54 caliber gun to 5"/62 caliber guns (DDG-81 and up)
  • Improved and ozone-friendly air conditioning plant (DDG-83 and up)
  • Navy Area Theatre Ballistic Missile Defense system (DDG-85 and up)
  • Remote-controlled mine detection equipment (select ships)

    Arleigh Burke Class Specifications

    Arleigh Burke Class; FLIGHT I/II (DDG-51+)
    Power Plant:
  • 4 LM2500 General Electric Marine Gas Turbines (100,000 shp)
  • 3 Allison 2500 KW Gas Turbine Generators
  • 2 Shafts with CRP (Controllable Reversible Pitch) Propellers
  • 2 Rudders

    Length: 505 feet overall, 466 feet (142 meters) waterline
    Beam: Maximum 66 Feet, waterline 59 feet (18 meters)
    Navigational Draft: 31 feet
  • Hulls 51 through 71: 8,315 tons (8,448.04 metric tons) full load
  • Hulls 72 through 78: 8,400 tons (8,534.4 metric tons) full load
  • Hulls 79 and on: 9,200 tons (9,347.2 metric tons) full load
    Speed: 31 knots (36 mph, 57 kph)
    Aircraft: None. LAMPS III electronics installed on landing deck for coordinated DDG 51/helo ASW operations
  • Two MK 41 Vertical Launch Systems (90 Cells)
  • Standard missile and Tomahawk ASM/LAM
  • Two MK 15 MOD 12 20mm Close-in-Weapons Systems (Phalanx Mounts)
  • Two AGM-84 Harpoon Anti-shipping Missile Quad Canisters
  • One MK 45 MOD 1 5"/54 caliber Gun Mount (lightweight gun)
  • Two MK 32 MOD 14 Triple Torpedo Tubes (six MK 50/46 Torpedoes)

  • AN/SPY-1D 3-D Radar
  • AN/SPS-67(V)3 Radar
  • AN/SPS-64(V)9 Radar
  • AN/SQS-53C(V) Sonar
  • AN/SQR-19(V) TACTAS Sonar

    Date Deployed: July 4, 1991
    Crew: 23 officers, 300 enlisted

    Arleigh Burke Class; FLIGHT IIA (DDG-79+)
    Power Plant:
  • 4 LM2500 General Electric Marine Gas Turbines (100,000 shp)
  • 3 Allison 2500 KW Gas Turbine Generators
  • 2 Shafts with CRP (Controllable Reversible Pitch) Propellers
  • 2 Rudders

    Length: 509.5-513.0 feet overall, 466 feet (142 meters)waterline
    Beam:Maximum 66 Feet, waterline 59 feet (18 meters)
    Navigational Draft: 31 feet
    9,192-9,217 tons full load
    Speed: 31 knots (36 mph, 57 kph)
    Aircraft: Two multi-purpose Light Airborne Multipurpose System LAMPS MK III helicopters
  • Quad Canisters Two MK 41 Vertical Launch Systems (96 Cells)
  • Standard missile and Tomahawk ASM/LAM
  • (NATO) Evolved Sea Sparrow
  • Two AGM-84 Harpoon Anti-shipping Missile
  • One MK 45 MOD 1 5"/54 caliber Gun Mount (lightweight gun)
  • Two MK 32 MOD 14 Triple Torpedo Tubes (six MK 50/46 Torpedoes)

  • AN/SPY-1D 3-D Radar
  • AN/SPS-67(V)3 Radar
  • AN/SPS-64(V)9 Radar
  • AN/SQS-53C(V) Sonar
    Crew: 32 Officers, 348 enlisted (including helicopter detachment of 4 officers and 14 enlisted)

    Arleigh Burke Class; Flight-Common Specifications
    Electronic Counter Measures (ECM):
  • AN/SLQ-32(V)3
  • AN/SLQ-25A NIXIE Torpedo Countermeasures
  • MK 36 MOD 6 Decoy Launching System (6 Launchers)
    Fire Control:
  • MK116 MOD 7 Underwater Fire Control System
  • AN/SWG- I A (V) Harpoon Launcher Control System
  • AN/SWG-3A Tomahawk Weapon Control System

    Exterior Communications
    Low Freqency (LF) through High Frequency (HF) Receive, 10 kHz - 30 MHz
  • R-1051 H/URR; twelve receivers
  • R-2368 H/URR; three receivers
    High Frequency (HF) Transmit; 2-30 MHz
  • AN/URT-23D; nine transmitters
    Very High Frequency (VHF) Transmit and Receive, 30-162 MHz
  • AN/GRR-211; two transceivers for non-secure voice
  • ANNRC-46A; two FM transceivers for secure voice
  • AN/URC-80 (V)6; one transceiver for bridge-to-bridge communications
    Very High Frequency (UHF) Transmit and Receive, 220-400 MHz
  • AN/URC-93 (V)1; two transceiver for Link 4A
  • AN/WSC-3 (V)7,11; fourteen transceivers
  • AN/WSC-3 (V)11, have-quick transceiver
    SATCOM Transmit and/or Receive
  • AN/SSR-1A; one receiver for fleet broadcast
  • ANNWSC-3A (V)3; five transceivers for digital voice
    Infra Red, Transmit and Receive
  • AN/SAR-7A; two IR Viewers
    Land Line Terminations, Transmit and/or Receive
  • AN/SAT-2B, one IR Transmitter
  • Single Channel DC Secure TTY
    Telephone Special Communications Channel
  • AN/USQ-69 (V)7; OTCIXS
  • AN/USQ-69 (V)8; TADIXS
  • AN/SYQ-7 (V)5 and AN/USQ-69 (V)6; NAVMACS/CUDIX
  • AN/USQ-83 (V) and AN/USQ-125 (V); Link 11
  • AN/SSW-1 D; Link 4A
  • AN/SRQ-4; HawkLink (LAMPS MK III)
  • AN/ARR-75 Sonobouy antenna

    Navigational Equipment:
  • AN/WSN-5 Inertial Navigation System
  • AN/WRN-6
  • ANISRN-25 (V)
  • MK 4 MOD 2 Underwater Log
  • MK 6 MOD 4D Digital Dead Reckoning Tracer
  • AN/SPS-64 (V) 9 I Band Radar
  • Navy Standard No. 3 Magnetic Compass
  • Chronometer Size 85
  • Flux Compass

  • CONREP fore and aft
  • VERTREP fore and aft
    Boat Handling and Stowage:
  • Two MK 6 rigid inflatable boats (RHIB), 18 person capacity with slewing arm davit
  • Fifteen twenty-five person encapsulated lifeboats
    Average Annual Unit Operating Cost: $20,000,000 (FY 1996, U.S. Dollars)

    Name 		Number 	Homeport 	Ordered Commissioned	Decommissioned
    Arleigh Burke	DDG-51	Norfolk		1985	04 Jul 1991	2026  
    Barry 		DDG-52	Norfolk		1987	12 Dec 1992	2027 
    John Paul Jones DDG-53	San Diego	1987	18 Dec 1993	2028  
    Curtis Wilbur	DDG-54	Yokosuka	1989	19 Mar 1994	2029 
    Stout		DDG-55	Norfolk		1989	13 Aug 1994	2029 
    John S. McCain	DDG-56	Yokosuka	1989	02 Jul 1994	2029  
    Mitscher	DDG-57	Norfolk		1989	10 Dec 1994	2029  
    Laboon		DDG-58	Norfolk		1989	18 Mar 1995	2029  
    Russell		DDG-59	Pearl Harbor	1990	20 May 1995	2030  
    Paul Hamilton	DDG-60	Pearl Harbor	1990	27 May 1995	2030 
    Ramage		DDG-61	Norfolk		1990	22 Jul 1995	2030  
    Fitzgerald	DDG-62	San Diego	1990	14 Oct 1995	2030 
    Stethem		DDG-63	San Diego	1990	21 Oct 1995	2030 
    Carney		DDG-64	Mayport		1991	13 Apr 1996	2031 
    Benfold		DDG-65	San Diego	1991	30 Mar 1996	2031  
    Gonzalez	DDG-66	Norfolk		1991	12 Oct 1996	2031 
    Cole		DDG-67	Norfolk		1991	08 Jun 1996	2031  
    The Sullivans	DDG-68	Mayport		1992	19 Apr 1997	2032  
    Milius		DDG-69	San Diego	1992	23 Nov 1996	2032  
    Hopper		DDG-70	Pearl Harbor	1992	06 Sep 1997	2032  
    Ross		DDG-71	Norfolk		1992	28 Jun 1997	2032 
    Mahan		DDG-72	Norfolk		1992	14 Feb 1998	2033  
    Decatur		DDG-73	San Diego	1993	29 Aug 1998	2033  
    McFaul		DDG-74	Norfolk		1993	25 Apr 1998	2033  
    Donald Cook	DDG-75	Norfolk		1993	04 Dec 1998	2033 
    Higgins		DDG-76	San Diego	1993	24 Apr 1999	2034 
    O'Kane		DDG-77	Pearl Harbor	1994	23 Oct 1999	2034  
    Porter		DDG-78	Norfolk		1994	10 Mar 1999	2034
    Oscar Austin	DDG-79	Norfolk		1994	19 Aug 2000 	2034 
    Roosevelt	DDG-80	Mayport		1995	14 Oct 2000	2035 
    WinstonChurchillDDG-81	Norfolk		1995	10 Mar 2001	2035  
    Lassen		DDG-82	San Diego	1996	21 Apr 2001	2036 
    Howard		DDG-83	San Diego	1996	29 Oct 2001	2036 
    Bulkeley	DDG-84	Norfolk		1996	08 Dec 2001	2036 
    McCampbell	DDG-85	San Diego	1996	08 Mar 2002	2036 
    Shoup		DDG-86	Everett		1997	22 Jun 2002	2037 
    Mason		DDG-87	Norfolk		1997	12 Apr 2003	2037 
    Preble		DDG-88	San Diego	1997	09 Nov 2002	2037 
    Mustin		DDG-89	Yokosuka	1998	26 Jul 2003	2037 
    Chaffee		DDG-90	Pearl Harbor	1998	18 Oct 2003	2038 
    Pinckney	DDG-91	San Diego	1998	19 May 2004	2038 
    Momsen		DDG-92	Everett	        1998	18 Sep 2004	2038 
    Chung-Hoon	DDG-93	Pearl Harbor	1999	18 Sep 2004	2039
    Nitze		DDG-94	Norfolk	        1999	05 Mar 2005	2039
    James E WilliamsDDG-95	Norfolk	        1999	11 Dec 2004	2039
    Bainbridge      DDG-96  Norfolk                 12 Nov 2005
    Halsey          DDG-97  San Diego               30 Jul 2005
    Forrest Sherman DDG-98  Norfolk                 28 Jan 2006
    Farragut        DDG-99  Mayport                 10 Jun 2006
    Kidd            DDG-100 San Diego               09 Jun 2007
    Gridley         DDG-101 San Diego               10 Feb 2007
    Sampson         DDG-102 San Diego               03 Nov 2007
    Sterett         DDG-104 San Diego               09 Aug 2008

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